For more than 30 years now, the Betty Griffin Center has provided shelter for local victims of domestic violence and their children. The shelter specializes not only in providing shelter, but also in professional counselling for victims of domestic assault and sexual abuse, case management and civil legal representation.
This nonprofit is heavily community-involved, and one of their biggest annual community involvement projects is currently accepting submissions yet again.
The 2022 “A Day Without Violence” Art and Poetry Contest highlights 13 local artists and 12 local poets in a competition that promotes awareness of violence-free homes and helps create peace in the community.
Submissions are open to all K-12 students in St. John’s County, including home schools and private schools. The Betty Griffin Center extends invitations to all schools for students to submit poetry and art pieces centered around the “A Day Without Violence” theme.
Despite the thousands of submissions that Betty Griffin Center receives every year, no two pieces are ever exactly the same.
“It is really unique to see the different artwork that comes in from all the different age groups,” said Kenlie Kubert, event coordinator at the Betty Griffin Center.
Judges for the contest consist of other local artists, some recommended by the St. John’s Cultural Council. While deciding winners, the judges look for a “positive impression of peacefulness and cooperation, artistic merit, originality, diversity or images, and geographical diversity within St. John’s County,” according to its website.
Winners of the competition have their work printed in the Betty Griffin Center’s annual calendar, with the first-place winner placed on the front cover, and second- and third-place winners being the months of January and February. The other 110 months consist of runner-ups in the competition. Each artwork printed in the calendar is accompanied by a poetry winner.
Around 3,000 of the calendars are distributed around St. John’s County to places such as schools, businesses and police stations. The calendars are also available for purchase on the Betty Griffin Center website and in one of its two thrift stores.
Not only do winners receive their work printed in a calendar, but first, second and third place also come with monetary prizes as well as recognition during a St. John’s County School Board meeting and a display at a local art gallery.
Students can submit work now through April 30 for the 2022 calendar contest. They can drop off submissions at libraries in St. John’s County or at the two Betty Griffin Center thrift shops. For more information on the competition, and the important work of the Betty Griffin Center, go to bettygriffincenter.org.